Kolkata: Atmospheric scientist and MIT Professor Ronald G. Prinn, whose group’s findings the Donald Trump administration used to justify pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, hopes the US exit from the accord is temporary and says any way in which countries like India can help get the US to reverse its decision would be “welcome.”
Prinn and John Reilly co-direct the MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.
After the US pull-out from the Paris accord, Reilly had — in various editorials, including in the Washington Post — alleged “his (Trump) administration cherry-picked my group’s findings to help make their case”.
“We had an editorial in Wall Street Journal. It really annoyed us. We were not pleased. They totally misquoted us and they get away with it,” the New Zealand-born Prinn told IANS here.
“To them, it didn’t matter what the scientific basis was. So, they misused our reports… so the fact they locked in MIT was probably not a surprise because our centre is well known.”
“I think any brilliant way in which countries like India can think of helping us get back into the accord, I personally would welcome it with open arms and so would most in the US,” he said.
Prinn was in the city to deliver the lecture on ‘Climate Change Risks and the Challenge of Avoiding 2 degree Celsius Warming’ on Wednesday as part of Centenary Celebration of Bose Institute.
The expert said what “really disturbs” him is that the Paris agreement decision is “another example where the US in the past decade has lost global leadership in wind, solar and nuclear” to China.
“I am hoping that this is temporary. I hope multiple pressures on Trump will force him to see that it is bad for US economy, it’s bad for US image around the world, it’s bad for US exports to other parts of the world, it’s just bad on so many fronts that we need to get back in,” he said.
Citing recent polls and surveys in the US that showed the majority of the voters in the US want the country to re-join the Paris accord and be a part of the global community, Prinn stressed: “It’s a minority view (exit from the deal) that has prevailed simply because the minority involves the President of the US.”
“I am hoping that after further reflection and work through various avenues the President will reverse his policy and get us back in the global policy.”
He said already in the US there are various groupings at state level that are going to pledge in the Paris accord (California and northeast states).
“They can go it alone, states’ rights are very strong in the US. I hope it goes on stronger and stronger, so that may be the push that gets us back into it.”
“One way or the other, the US should not just be back in it but should be leading the Paris agreement, not pulling out,” he added.
The Paris climate accord is a global agreement dealing with climate change. US President Donald Trump, after coming to power, withdrew the US from it, saying it will “undermine (the US) economy”.